We began our approach with CROP by identifying the fundamental functionality required in Phase 1. With any massive undertaking that is split into multiple stages, we had to be incisive about identifying the most critical components while still holding space for wishlist items that could be developed in later iterations. Through this initial work with CROP, we identified the online application as the priority. All applications for previously incarcerated individuals were historically done through a paper-based system. We worked to convert the physical applications to a digital format while preserving all of the same information.
True to our mission of designing for inclusion, we worked with stakeholders in the design process of the new online application. As with all of our user research, we always give special attention to the individual needs of the stakeholders. We partnered with formerly and currently justice-involved people and participants in CROP’s pilot Ready 4 Life program.
While doing stakeholder research on the user end, we also worked closely with the CROP team to understand the emerging needs of their organization. Our team spoke to all actively involved team members working on the Ready 4 Life program to gather information about what would be helpful in the development of the program, what was essential, what data needed to be collected, and how data needed to be analyzed.
We worked in a parallel process of doing user research while simultaneously moving forward with engineering the necessary functionality of the project. The culmination of this work was a robust digital application for the Ready 4 Life program, and a backend database that is flexible, customizable, and easily exportable. With this foundation in place and the application launched for the first cohort, we are ready to move the iterative agile approach in the future development of CROP’s needs.